African Economics and Leadership
Comment by Linda Nowakowski
Identifies the Cheetah generation - a new breed of Africans who brook no nonsense about corruption. They understand what Accountability and democracy are. THey do no wait for government to do things for them.
Hippo generation - the ruling elite who are stuck complaining about colonialism and imperialism. You can not ask them to change things because they benefit from the status quo.
Africa is rich in mineral resources but these resources are not being used to lift Africa out of poverty.
People want to help. Help has been turned into a theatre of the absurd - the blind leading the clueless.
Africa's begging bowl leaks. Wealth made in Africa leaves Africa.
Corruption - $148 billion Capital flight - $80 billion Food imports - $20 billion
In the '60s Africa not only fed itself, it exported food. Something went wrong. We could spend all day talking about how. FOrget it. Move on to the next chapter.
Who do we want to help in Africa? The people or the government (leaders)?
A previous speaker referred to the past leadership in Africa as abysmal - that is a charitable characterization.
Since 1960 there have been 204 African heads of state. Asked people to identify just 20 good leaders. Came up with Mandela, Kruma, Arrera, Kinyata and someone even suggested Edi Amin..... They couldn't get past 15. The leaders of Africa have been a group of military foo-foo heads, Swiss Bank Socialists, Crocodile liberators, vampire elite sucking the economic vitality out of their people. Bandits enriching themselves and their cronies. They are all rich. Where does the wealth come from? Wealth creation? No. It is scraped off of the backs of their people - wealth redistribution.
The second false premise: We sometimes think there is something called a government that cares about the people and serves the interest of the people.
It has been said that in Africa there are two problems: rats and government.
If we want to help Africa, we need to know where Africans are.
There are 3 sectors in Africa:
- Modern - The abode of the elites, the seat of government. In most of Africa it is not functional. It is rather the source of the problems. This is where development money and aid has gone.
- Informal -
- Traditional - Where Africa produces agriculture. Why it can't feed itself.
Most of the people, the real people are in the informal and traditional sectors. You can not help Africa by ignoring the traditonal and informal sectors. We need to know how they work.
Indigenious political heritage -
Traditionally Africans hate governemnts. Traditionally Africans are organized into tribes and want to have nothing to do with central authority. No chiefs. These are represented by the Ibu and the Somali. There are tribes with chiefs but they have made sure that the chiefs are surrounded with council upon council to prevent them from abusing power. For example: in one tribe the chief can't pass a law without approval of the council of elders. If the chief doesn't rule for the people, the people remove or abandon the chief and go someplace else and set up a new settlement. Africa has been a model of confederacy characterized by a great deal of devolution of authority and decentralization of power.
In the traditional sector the means of production is privately owned in an extended family system.
In the west the basic unit is the individual. In America things center on I. In Africa it centers on we.
The extended family pools resources together. They decide what to do. They decide what to produce. When they produce, they sell in the market and the profit is theirs to keep...not to give to the chief. We had a free market system for a long time. Market activity has been dominated by women. WHen the west came it became a different kind of capitalism, a western capitalism. Then the leaders said that Africans were ready for socialism. But a particular kind of socialism - Swiss Bank Socialism which allowed the leaders to take the money and deposit it in Switzerland.
We must go back to African's indiginous systems. Go back to find the Africans in the traditon and informal sectors. He is trying to get the African diaspora to invest in these sectors - for example big boat building that they can catch bigger fish and employ more people and generate wealth and have external effects in the economy. There is also traditional medicine. And investment in agriculture.
Also invest in change and take Africa back one village at a time.
The develpment of Opok Farms Village will be an investment in agriculture. The investment in the learn by doing educational system will be grass roots and usable and will empower the people from the grass roots. The biggest concern that I have is how much of the traditional knowledge has been lost. This kind of development can be revolutionary in that it empowers the people to success without outside assistance and govenment intervention. This is powerful stuff.
Does that help, Christina?
You explanation certainly makes it much clearer!